Wednesday, October 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Trains diverted, cancelled
5 unions to jam rail traffic on Oct 13

AMBALA, Oct 10 (UNI) — As many as 14 express and passenger trains were today diverted or cancelled in the wake of rail roko agitation in Punjab by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) supporters at Maur Mandi under the Ambala-Bathinda rail section of Northern Railway.

The express trains which have been diverted from their original route via Jakhal-Bathinda would now run via Bathinda-Dhuri-Jakhal. Seven passenger trains running between Bathinda-Jakhal have been cancelled. No train would run between the two stations touching Maur Mandi, the venue of the rail roko agitation by the farmers.

The express trains which are running on the diverted route of Bathinda-Dhuri-Jakhal are — 4721 New Delhi-Sriganganagar, 9023 and 9024 Madras-Jammu Tawi and return journey train, 2137 Abha Express Ferozepore-Bombay, 3007, Howrah-Sriganganagar and 3008 Sriganganagar-Howrah and 4722 Sriganganagar-New Delhi.

The passenger trains which were cancelled between Jakhal and Bathinda included 345 and 346 running between Bathinda-Jind, 341 and 342 which will run only up to Delhi-Jakhal and 343 and 344 passenger trains running up to Bathinda via Jakhal.

MOGA: Five Punjab kisan unions have decided to intensify their current agitation by jamming rail traffic in the state on October 13 in protest against the “indifferent attitude” of the Centre and government procurement agencies regarding the procurement of paddy and strict norms adopted by the Food Corporation of India, forcing farmers to take to distress sale.

The decision to jam the rail traffic was taken at a meeting on Monday evening, Punjab Kisan Union (Ekta) vice-president Sukhdev Singh Kokari said in a press note here on Monday.

He said the protest on October 13 was also aimed at pressurising the Centre to rollback the recent hike in petroleum prices.

Expressing his concern over failure of the procurement agencies to purchase paddy lying in mandis for the past 10 to 15 days, he said more paddy arrivals had led to glut in mandis in the state. Under these circumstances, he said, the farmers were selling their produce at lower rate than the minimum support price of  Rs 510 and Rs 540 for common and fine paddy varieties, respectively.

Punjab Khet Union general secretary Lachhman Singh Sevewala has also supported the rail roko decision of the kisan unions.

Tribune reporters add from Mansa: Activists of BKU (Ekta) who had organised the rail blockade at the railway level crossing in the city since Monday morning on Tuesday lifted it in the evening when the state press secretary, Mr Surjeet Singh Phool, announced the agitation had been postponed. However, the railway authorities were forced to cancel four more trains on Tuesday as the agitators did not allow any traffic on the Bathinda-Delhi rail section. The trains which were cancelled by the railway authorities were Ferozepore-Delhi, Delhi-Ferozepore and Ferozepore-Jind shuttle. All mail trains originating from Bathinda, Ferozepore and Sriganganagar reached Delhi through diverted routes.

Mr Phool said the agitation had been postponed to make preparation for jamming rail traffic in Punjab on the call of five kisan organisations on October 13. The activists had been squatting on the rail track since Monday morning and had been running a community kitchen there. They had also pitched up tents at the site of the blockade.

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